It also garnered national attention with the release of the film and book “Just Mercy” — which tells the story of Walter McMillian, a Black man from Monroeville who was sentenced to death after being wrongly convicted.

Now, Monroeville is making headlines again: this time because of an historic first.

The city of about 5,700 residents last week elected Charles Andrews as its next mayor, making him the first African American there to hold that post.
“Thank you Monroeville,” Andrews said in a video posted to his Facebook page on Sunday. “I am honored and humbled by your confidence and trust in me to represent you as this town’s first African American mayor.”
Andrews, 65, defeated incumbent Sandy Smith in an election on August 25. He will take office on November 2.

“Today, as I stand on the threshold of history, the shoulders of our parents and our foreparents, we are one people, one town and one team, all inclusive,” he said in a victory speech.

Andrews said he would dedicate himself to working for quality health care, safe neighborhoods and schools, industrial development and a diversified workforce, among other issues.

“I am looking forward to working with the city council, the police department, business leaders, my staff and everyone for the betterment of the town and its citizens,” he said. “There is no time to waste.”

Andrews has broken barriers before

State leaders congratulated Andrews on his achievement.

“Another bridged crossed! Congrats to Charles Andrews the new mayor of Harper Lee’s hometown,” Sen. Doug Jones wrote on Twitter.

But breaking barriers is nothing new for Andrews.

In 1994, he became the first Black state trooper in Alabama’s Department of Public Safety to rise of the rank of Major, AL.com reported. When he was tapped as interim director of the department eight years later, he became the first Black person to fill that role.
After a long career serving the state of Alabama, Andrews was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2010 to be the next US Marshal in Mobile.

CNN has reached out to Andrews for comment.

Despite Andrews’ political successes, he remembers a time when things were different.

How Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' changed you
When he first saw the movie “To Kill A Mockingbird” in downtown Monroeville, he was sitting in a segregated theater, he recalled in an interview with AL.com.

“It didn’t strike me that we were sitting in the black section of the theater,” Andrews told the news site. “Being a child at the time, and being the first time going to the movies, I was kind of awestruck.”

But though his hometown has seen its fair share of racial injustices, Andrews told the news site that he believed things had changed.

“I think Monroeville, over the years, has grown past that,” Andrews said.

“One of the things I learned during my campaign is that there are so many people, a diverse group of people, and the biggest they want to do is not just have someone to talk to, but someone who will listen to what their concerns are,” he continued.

Andrews reiterated that sentiment in his victory speech, emphasizing that he would represent all of Monroeville’s residents.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I accept the great honor of being the mayor of ALL the citizens of Monroeville,” he said. “I promise that I will represent all of you to the best of my ability, which includes those who voted for me and those who didn’t.”





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